Moez Hayat (SFS’19): An International Politics Major Mistaken for a Professor

Moez Hayat
SFS, Class of 2019, International Politics: Foreign Policy Processes
Shreveport, Louisiana
Language: Arabic
Minor: Arabic
Certificate: Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding (ACMCU) Certificate in Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations
Study Abroad: Amman, Jordan (Summer & Fall 2017)
Proseminar: Policy and Strategy: The Pursuit of National Goals in a Crisis with Professor Keith Hrebenak
On-Campus Activities: Undergraduate Scholars Program, Centennial Fellows Program, Campus Ministry Student Forum, Muslim Students Association, DC Schools, Walsh Exchange (two-time presenter)


May 13, 2019 by Sophia Mauro

While at Georgetown, Moez Hayat (SFS’19) has sought out every possible opportunity to expand his academic knowledge. So much so, in fact, that he was once asked  if he was a professor after he attended (almost) every single Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) and Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) event. Hayat fondly recalls that as one of his favorite memories from his time at Georgetown. For Hayat, it’s been four years full of diverse intellectual pursuits, research opportunities, and relationships with faculty.  

A Proseminar to Remember

Hayat and his friends enjoy the cherry blossoms in D.C.

Though he didn’t know it at the time, Moez Hayat’s freshman proseminar would have a major impact on the remainder of his four years at Georgetown. The class, called Policy and Strategy: The Pursuit of National Goals in a Crisis, not only prepared him for future coursework and influenced him to pursue a major in International Politics, but also introduced him to Professor Keith Hrebenak, a mentor he continues to rely on for support and advice. Organized into case studies, beginning with the Peloponnesian War and progressing to the present day, the course examined historic applications of the traditional elements of power—diplomatic, economic, and military—in the pursuit of goals during crises. “Hands down, this course prepared me more than anything for the intellectual and writing pursuits required at Georgetown and that will be required later in life,” Hayat says.

Hayat says that Hrebenak, “has supported me in my intellectual pursuits.” Whether stressing over an application while at home in Louisiana or deliberating which classes to take during his semester abroad in Amman, Jordan, Hrebenak has always been “one call away.” Hayat is grateful to Hrebenak for his advice and encouragement. “He has consistently supported me in all my decisions throughout Georgetown, and I only hope I will continue to seek his counsel going into the future.”

Active at the Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding

Hayat and his friends attended the SFS Diplomatic Ball at the Library of Congress.

One of Hayat’s favorite classes was Shari’a Law and Its Discontents with Professor Jonathan Brown. He says Brown, though a preeminent scholar of Islam and Shari’a law, “makes even the most complicated material accessible, de-mystified, and entertaining.” Instead of lecturing the entire time, Hayat says that Brown incorporated discussion and practice in framing and articulating arguments into class time. “The best part of his class is that he loves an argument—any argument, on any topic,” Hayat says. “He always encourages students regardless of their experience or background to share their opinions and to challenge their own assumptions about law, society, and the modern world.”

Brown is also the director of the ACMCU, a center Hayat has engaged with extensively during his time at Georgetown. He will graduate with a certificate in Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations from the ACMCU.

Hayat advises other Georgetown students and incoming first years to cultivate relationships with faculty. “The SFS allows students to work directly with faculty, both in class and through outside research, in the various academic departments and graduate research centers, in order to strengthen students’ academic knowledge and develop themselves as individuals,” he says.

College is a Time for Developing Your Ideas

Hayat is a two-time presenter for the Walsh Exchange.

Both inside and outside of the classroom, Hayat calls these last four years some of the most formative in his life. On the advice of a mentor who told him to take time in college to develop his ideas, Hayat says he’s learned not to get caught up in the day-to-day focus on grades or professional opportunities. He tells future Georgetown students to “use these unique four years to challenge yourself intellectually, as to develop your own conception of how you want the world to look like and how you plan to reach make that world a reality.”

“Jobs will come and go,” he says.

You will never again get the same opportunity to formulate your own ideas about world politics, economics, and society.

In fact, he admits that he will miss “late night conversations about politics and foreign affairs, when you stay up listening to those different ideas friends have for improving the world” the most.

He’s also been inspired by thought-provoking discussions during class and enjoys “witnessing the high level of academic and intellectual discussions that take place at this university.” Professors across all departments and disciplines, but particularly in the field of International History, have impressed him with their willingness to grapple with “underlying trends in the world that affect international politics.” Whether practitioners or scholars, Hayat says that he’s appreciative he was able to learn from them. “The sheer knowledge [that] Georgetown’s faculty possess is simply astounding,” he says. “I feel honored to have received even an ounce of their teachings.”

Insatiable Intellectual Curiosity

Hayat and his friends pose with Georgetown favorite Jack the Bulldog.

While in Washington, D.C., Hayat devoted much of his time to research. He says he spends his time off-campus finding new ways to learn. “Whether it was visiting think tanks for lectures, meeting with interviewees at the IMF, or researching in libraries and archives, D.C. has a treasure trove of information that any student at Georgetown can access.”

He credits his academic interests, as well as his research capabilities, to the SFS curriculum. Hayat says that the International Politics major’s “various lengthy readings, challenging seminar discussions, and comprehensive papers” have made him more prepared for his future. In addition to the major curriculum, Hayat has taken advantage of other course offerings in the core curriculum and other disciplines. One class taken during his junior year influenced him, on a whim, to apply to the graduate program in Asian Studies, an area he had not studied thoroughly until then. The whim paid off: next year, he will stay at Georgetown to study in the Master of Arts in Asian Studies Program.

Looking to the future, though he hasn’t decided whether he would like to be an academic or a practitioner long term, Hayat says that his studies at SFS have been invaluable. “I know I want to make research and writing in international affairs an important part of any work I do,” he says. “The SFS allowed me to take the classes I wanted to expand my academic interests and understanding of the world.”